12 step recovery centers, along with the 12 step programs they utilize, – have taken a bit of a public relations hit in recent years. It sometimes seems as if these programs are used for comedy more than recovery.

We’ve all seen sitcoms that involve people in these programs. More often than not, these sitcoms have someone who is on the step where they have to make amends, which can lead to some funny situations involving the drunken adventures the characters had but now don’t remember.

Often, the characters running the programs on these television shows are portrayed as simpletons who get through life by spouting off one-line self-help sayings. They’re portrayed as one-dimensional people who don’t offer any help the other characters take remotely seriously.

The point here is this: Television hasn’t been kind to these recovery centers. More often than not, they’re used as a source for comedy.

While this makes for some good laughs on TV, it couldn’t be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, many experts worry that the stigma being created by these shows hurt the people that need them most. Addicts see these shows and assume the center would be no help, which prevents the addict from actually receiving treatment he or she desperately needs.

In reality, the people who run and work at these centers are remarkably well trained and are absolutely devoted to helping the people who attend meetings. Most of them work on a voluntary basis and are there for no other reason than to help recovering addicts of all kinds. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other addiction, these people donate their time because they want to help.

12 Step programs are among the most successful treatment programs available. They acknowledge there isn’t a “silver bullet” and – more importantly – they acknowledge that this isn’t something addicts can usually overcome alone. These centers give you access to support from professionals as well as other recovering addicts. They don’t just tell you what you need to do to recover; they stand beside you and say, “You’re not doing this alone.”

If you are suffering from addiction, there are many options. If the addiction is severe enough, checking in to a rehab facility is sometimes the best option. Most people, however, can’t afford that option. They can’t afford to lose their jobs and live in a medical center for weeks, or even months. Most people need to find help, but they need to do it in a way that allows them to continue living life. For those people, a 12 step program is often the best option available.

12 step recovery centers are among the most accessible help centers in the country. Odds are, if you live in the United States, there is a center available. A quick search engine query or even checking your own phonebook will usually turn up a facility within reach. These people are here to help, and – contrary to how they’re often portrayed on TV – they have the training and skills to offer that help.

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